On Reading And Writing


I awake with eyes still closed and my mind already running lists of what has been done, what must be done today, and what can wait until tomorrow or next week. I fight the noise by keeping my eyes shut, however that ineffectually increases the volume of my mind's clatter.

A mind too active is no mind at all, writes Julia Cameron in her book titled, 'The Artist's Way'. The primary tool in recovering one's creative self is what she terms morning pages, which I adopted as my daily ramblings. Whilst these wordy junkets are helping to unravel the jumbled mass of incoherent thoughts swimming in my mind, which then allow me to continue my day less dishevelled, reading is creating order and flow.

Turning to classic period novels - some, I am rereading and many more, for the first time - has initiated a momentum for daily reading. They transport me to a different time and place, which I am very much drawn to and where it seems I would feel right at home.

Travelling between centuries from one book to the other, as I am also gripped by Robert Macfarlane's vivid writings of his voyages, there are not enough hours in the day to read as much as I wish, or enough space in my handbag for both 'Vanity Fair' and my kindle. I cannot read quickly enough to satisfy my urgent curiosity to learn what will become of W.M. Thackeray's Miss Rebecca Sharp and Miss Amelia Sedley. My eagerness and impatience want to open the next chosen classic, 'Madame Bovary' - a French period novel, except for the constraint of twenty-four hours hardly balanced between the To Do's and To See's; the pleasure of reading and this therapeutic arduous exercise of writing.

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Return From A Hiatus


Verbier, Switzerland, February 2015

I am currently camped out in our guest bedroom whilst ours is taken over by the decorator who is tasked with painting walls of multiple angles and distorted lines. It's back to our regular programming of home decorating. We moved into our newly built house about sixteen months ago and it has been seventeen months of unremitting alterations with tradesmen about. One glaring revelation has been that there can be as much work to be done in a brand-new monotonous townhouse as in a dark characterful Victorian terrace.

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All this activity enshrouds my current frame of mind. Returning to everyday mundane concerns was a daunting thought as our ski holiday neared its end. Only a week after returning home is my mood of melancholy and listlessness beginning to evanesce. My spirit felt at its lowest ebb and I cannot seem to rationalise it - at least not now, perhaps I shall better understand in retrospection when I am enraptured once again.

Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco, June 2013